xy·​lo·​phone | \ ˈzī-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce xylophone (audio) also ˈzi- \

Definition of xylophone

: a percussion instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars graduated in length to produce the musical scale, supported on belts of straw or felt, and sounded by striking with two small wooden hammers

Illustration of xylophone

Illustration of xylophone

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Other Words from xylophone

xylophonist \ ˈzī-​lə-​ˌfō-​nist How to pronounce xylophone (audio) also  ˈzi-​ \ noun

Examples of xylophone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her city pop songs are bursting at the seams: there’s addictive synths, electronic loops, twinkling xylophone accents and, most of all, saudade. Billboard Staff, Billboard, 23 Dec. 2020 The resulting sound could be the ringing of a bell or maybe a rustic xylophone. Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2020 Errol Morris' rhapsodic 1997 documentary about a bunch of monomaniacs features a xylophone-heavy score and the roboticist Rodney Brooks. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 20 Oct. 2020 Entertainer and entrepreneur Carl Mack played xylophone during part of the event. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, 20 Oct. 2020 The wooden instrument combines xylophone and piano elements, plus it’s a shape-sorter. Lindsey Hunter Lopez, USA TODAY, 7 Oct. 2020 The marimba, a large wooden percussion instrument similar to the xylophone, has gained popularity in recent years, Kwan said. Juhi Varma, Houston Chronicle, 5 Oct. 2020 Ancient instruments like the kora, a dazzling 21-string instrument, and the balafon, a wooden xylophone, are now played in ensembles that also feature drum kits, electric basses, and synthesizers. Teju Cole, Condé Nast Traveler, 21 Aug. 2020 The xylophone in the background is admittedly quite soothing. Adam Epstein, Quartz, 1 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'xylophone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of xylophone

1866, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for xylophone

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The first known use of xylophone was in 1866

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Cite this Entry

“Xylophone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xylophone. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for xylophone



English Language Learners Definition of xylophone

: a musical instrument that has a set of wooden bars of different lengths that are hit with hammers


xy·​lo·​phone | \ ˈzī-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce xylophone (audio) \

Kids Definition of xylophone

: a musical instrument consisting of a series of wooden bars of different lengths that are struck by special mallets to produce musical notes

More from Merriam-Webster on xylophone

Nglish: Translation of xylophone for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about xylophone


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